So many times I am talking to my mom friends (most of which don’t have chronic illness) and there seems to be a common theme that we all have days where we feel like a shit mom.
We probably all have had days where we thought this multiple times in the day. But then I wonder, do I feel like this more than the “normal” mom?
I don’t just have to worry about if my son is on track for learning the alphabet. Is he eating a balanced diet? Did he get a cavity because I suck at remembering to make him brush his teeth?
Now, as a mom with chronic pain I have another list….the things that I need to worry about solely because of my pain. Things that most people would never even imagine would be a problem.
For example, here is what has to go into the planning of a simple trip to the park:
1. How far of a drive is it? If I am in a lot of pain I can’t drive more than about five minutes.
2. How far is the parking from the playground? Is there reliable parking? Handicap parking if I am having an extra bad day?
3. How big is the park? Can I keep my eye on him from one spot, or is it a large park where I will have to be on my feet the whole time?
4. Checking the layout of the park. When he was younger I had to make sure that the park was mostly enclosed after he wandered away from me down a big hill that I couldn’t get down when he was only 14 months old. (Luckily another mama came to the rescue!)
5. How long am I going to be able to stay? If I am not feeling great and it may be a short visit do I want to deal with the guilt of the, “But mom, we have only been here for 10 minutes!”
6. What happens if my knee decides to dislocate or my back goes out of whack and I can’t walk?
7. What if he has a meltdown? I will admit they are getting fewer and far between now that he has turned 5, but I haven’t been able to carry him since he was about 14 months old. If he has one now, we would be stuck. I would literally just have to wait until he was willing to walk on his own to the car
I don’t want anyone to think I am having a pity party. I am not writing this so that people feel sorry for me. I am doing it so that other moms with chronic illness will feel less alone. And, I figure it could help some of our friends and family understand what we go through as we try and raise awesome kids while trying to keep ourselves together – and I mean literally, together. (My knees and hips love to dislocate – a little Ehlers-Danlos syndrome humor.)
I know so many of these feelings are based on what “society” thinks a good mom is. I struggle with that a lot too, because in theory others opinions shouldn’t matter. But most of us would be lying if we say they it doesn’t factor in to our feelings. I always remind myself that as moms with chronic illness we need to focus less on living up to others expectations of how to be a “good” parent and create our own path based on our own limitations.